Diablo III (PC) Review

By Athanasios 06.02.2020

Review for Diablo III on PC

It's logical to expect certain things from certain games. It's hard to stomach a badly made Legend of Zelda, or a slow and boring Doom, or a forgettable, non-immersive Fallout, or a constricting, watered-down Grand Theft Auto, and so on. Sure, it's hard to catch lightning in a bottle twice. Luckily, these are series that have set the standards so high, that most gamers would easily accept more of the same. Take Diablo II for instance. Blizzard could simply take this masterpiece of a dark fantasy hack 'n' slasher, give it 3D graphics, and call it a day - sadly, it chose to do things differently, and in doing so, ruined one of the developer's flagship franchises. After Diablo and it's fantastic sequel, Cubed3 takes a look at the final part of the demonic trilogy.

Up until now, each Diablo iteration had the same basic plot: bad things begin to happen, some heroes try to find out what that is, with the expected conclusion being "A Wild Lord of Terror appears!" Beating on a dead, demonic horse? Not really. Diablo II managed to actually bring new life to the same old recipe, by making you curious about how, when, and, most importantly, why Diablo would inevitably emerge again. Therefore, the first question when it comes to Diablo III is this: does it manage to re-tell the same story again, and keep it interesting while at it?

The answer: well... it's complicated. The beginning sees a comet fall on a temple of New Tristram, which was built close the old Tristam of the original, and after that various demons start appearing all around the place. Aided by a young lady named Leah, the protagonist of your choosing will try to reach the point of the comet's impact, eventually discovering how it's all once again tied to the age-old war between the High Heavens and the Burning Hells, and the role that the demon lord Diablo plays. Just another day, just another tale from Sanctuary, right? Sadly, no...

Screenshot for Diablo III on PC

In the end, the premise, interesting or not, never really mattered much. It all boils down to presentation, and this is the first big mistake of Diablo III. It has caverns and goblins, dungeons and undead, and all that stuff expected from the series, but this is more like a darker (and forgettable) WarCraft. From the characters, to the design of the world, to the actual narrative, this lacks the gothic aura of previous instalments. It does try to be grim and serious, it really does, but it's just doesn't have what it takes, with the end result being light years away tonally from Diablo II.

Visuals put aside, this lacks the essence of Diablo in terms of story as well. In an attempt to be more epic, it retcons the Diablo "mythos," and while the end result is fine and all, it loses that strong "confined" feeling. You used to be something small entangled in something larger than you. Now you are something extremely epic inside something that's less epic than you. Also, once drenched in mystery, the devils of hell and the angels of heaven are now fully shown and explained, with way too much mediocre dialogue sequences and exposition that one can safely skip, just like in any MMO.

This could go on and on, about how weak the lore is, how generic the OST sounds, and how colourful and... WoW-ish it looks. In the end, the best comparison would be Leah, a vastly important figure in this tale, and Marius, a simple man who just got himself embroiled in the events of Diablo II. The first turns out to be a typical "girl with mysterious powers" that tries really hard to appear as a sad, tortured soul. The latter, is an insignificant weakling whose whole life was ruined the moment he met the Lord of Terror, with his final words still echoing in the head of yours truly.

Screenshot for Diablo III on PC

Who cares about story and atmosphere, though, right? You are all here for the clickin' and the killin' and the lootin'. How do these all fair? Now… this isn't a bad game, but it's not great either - just a passable-to-enjoyable ARPG. Moreover, it's too darn easy! Some probably don't mind something a bit more casual-friendly and relaxing, but here one can actually increase the difficulty mid-game, and simply run from area to area, killing everything without even trying to. It's too much of a walk in the park to be enjoyable, or make you feel threatened.

The heavy casual-friendly approach, which mostly caters to the WoW crowd, rather than those experienced with Diablo or the genre as a whole, is also evident in the tools of the trade; the classes, the weaponry, and the abilities. Starting with the loot, apart from the fact that it's constantly raining legendary items, and besides a difference in some basic stats, like defence or damage, loot is essentially the same. You can literally focus only in the equipment piece with the highest offense rating, and don't even care about anything else, no matter the difficulty setting.

Screenshot for Diablo III on PC

Continuing with the classes, on one hand there are many, and, at first glance, they are a diverse bunch. The sad reality is that everybody pretty much plays the same. From ranged characters like the Wizard or the Demon Hunter, to the closed-ranged warriors like the Barbarian or the Crusader, all heroes soon become ridiculously strong Swiss knives that can do all kinds of stuff, essentially making everyone be jacks of all trades, as well as masters. Even worse? You have little creative freedom over your built. Not being able to assign stats isn't the problem here; the skills are.

All abilities will be unlocked while playing, which means that the only thing that you can do is to choose a selection of abilities; the ones you like the most, or the ones that you currently need. Not being restricted to a specific build might seem liberating, but it also wipes out the fan of creating your own, unique characters, as you can only slightly optimise your skills by choosing one amongst a couple of runes that marginally alter the way these behave, and nothing more than that. Therefore, you can forget about creating specialised builds.

Generally, from its aesthetic and narrative aspects, to the actual gameplay, Diablo III simply can't hold a candle to Diablo II. The reason is that Blizzard is not the same company any more. After "losing" some of its most important talents, it changed its attitude towards the way it handled its games, and, most importantly, World of Warcraft happened, which wasn't just a video game, but a phenomenon. That's why Diablo III was made the way it is. That's why it isn't worthy of the name it carries. That's why you should reinstall Diablo II again.

Screenshot for Diablo III on PC

Cubed3 Rating

5/10
Rated 5 out of 10

Average

In the words of Diablo II's Marius, "what have I done to deserve this?!" The Lord of Terror's threequel looks good, has decent gameplay, and doesn't have any glaring flaws from a technical or mechanical point of view. Generally, it could in no way be considered a bad video game - it is, however, a title that is just... there. It's a big budget, high profile 'ok,' a faint shadow of its former shelf that carries the same name, but lacks almost everything that made it great. Hell simply froze over.

Developer

Blizzard

Publisher

Blizzard

Genre

Real Time RPG

Players

4

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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